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Over the past 18 months, Concern Australia and the RMIT Vocational Education Youth Work program have been working together to strengthen outcomes for young people who take the Hand Brake Turn course while offering real-world experience to RMIT Youth Work students.

Hand Brake Turn students at their Dandenong site graduation with some of the RMIT Youth Work students.

The partnership focuses on Youth Work students undertaking placements at our Braybrook and Dandenong sites to provide additional support for Hand Brake Turn students throughout the duration of each seven-week Hand Brake Turn course. Since the partnership began, 34 Youth Work students have worked alongside the Hand Brake Turn team.

Trevor Bayley, an RMIT Work Integrated Learning Teacher, said the partnership was creating great outcomes for everyone involved. (Trevor is pictured above with some of the RMIT students.)

“Hand Brake Turn students have been guided through their programs by RMIT Youth Work students and given assistance in building resilience, hope and discovering new things about themselves,” Trevor said. “This has helped the Hand Brake Turn students with the development of resumes, job applications, preparation for job interviews and an understanding of the future of the world of work, along with the importance of engaging in lifelong learning.”

Hand Brake Turn Program Manager Ian Dubbeld agreed, saying the partnership had already proven valuable in a short space of time.

“The RMIT students have had such a positive impact on the Hand Brake Turn students,” Ian says. “As they journey with our students over the seven weeks of each course, they show these young people who have experienced a range of life challenges that they matter. They teach our students how important it is to look after their own wellbeing, and work with them one-on-one as it is needed.

“In return, the Youth Work students develop confidence working with young people in a safe environment. It helps them to understand the great need that there is within the demographic of young people that do the Hand Brake Turn course. As they work alongside our Hand Brake Turn team, these emerging youth workers gain a real-life understanding of tools and processes they can take with them and use to help other young people in their future career.”

Trevor said the partnership was significant for RMIT, and aligned strongly with the university’s values and the idea that education is the only pathway out of poverty.

“Both partners are able to channel their passion to make a difference in the lives of young people through the ‘vehicle’ of Hand Brake Turn,” Trevor said. “The partnership displays the courage required to work in communities of disadvantage, commit to a course of action built on shared values and never give up on young people.

“The RMIT students have appreciated the opportunity to work alongside experienced, passionate and skilled practitioners at Hand Brake Turn and they have had firsthand experiences of changing someone’s life direction. They have learnt from the Hand Brake Turn staff about the privilege of working with young people experiencing disadvantage and barriers to economic participation and the joys and pleasures associated with this life-changing program.

“This is just the beginning of a relationship that has potential to grow and to be channeled into different program areas as the two partners use our networks and resources to add value and continue to expand and develop the program into the future,” Trevor said.

Ian agrees with Trevor that the partnership is in a good position for the future.

“The future of the partnership with RMIT looks great and we continue to build on each other’s strengths and experience for the benefit of young people and the next generation of youth workers,” Ian said.

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